From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Russell, Harvey C., Jr.

(born: 1918  -  died: 1998) 

Harvey C. Russell, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Harvey C. Russell, Sr. and Julia Jones Russell and the brother of Bessie Tucker Russell Stone and Dr. Randa D. Russell. Harvey Russell, Jr. was a graduate of Kentucky State University. He was the first African American commissioned officer in the U. S. Coast Guard. For a short period of time he was employed by an African American soft drink company, the Brown Belle Bottling Company, owned by Arthur G. Gaston. In 1946, the company began selling Joe Louis Punch. The doo-wop group The Ravens recorded a radio spot, "Ain't No Punch Like Joe Louis Punch." Joe Louis invested in the business, but it was not a success. Harvey Russell, Jr. went on to become an outstanding employee at the Pepsi-Cola Company [now PepsiCo] for 33 years (in New York). Beginning as a field representative in 1950, he was named vice president of Corporate Planning for Pepsi-Cola in 1962 and in 1965 became vice president of PepsiCo. In 1968 he was appointed its corporate vice president of Community Affairs. Russell was the first African American to become vice president of a major corporation. He retired from the PepsiCo in 1983 and died in New York. For more see "Harvey C. Russell, Jr., 1918-1998: Longtime PepsiCo Executive was Nation's First African-American VP of Major Corporation," The Atlanta Inquirer, 03/14/1998, p. 3; "Pioneering Businessman, Harvey Russell, Jr. Dies at 79," Jet, 03/16/1998, p.18; and Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 23 (1997) & vol. 24 (1998).

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Russell, Harvey C., Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed December 2, 2023,

Last modified: 2019-08-09 17:42:48